8 Amazing Boat Trips Around St Ives Bay To See The Seals

May 20, 2022

Boat Trips St Ives Cornwall

The Boat Trips On Offer In St Ives

You can't come on a visit to St Ives and not go on a boat trip. The seas around the coast are stunning and being out on the sea looking back at the land is breathtaking. The change in perspective always amazes me, especially seeing the town from the sea. It looks so different!

There are 3 main trips which the boats take from St Ives.

1. Seal Island.

This journey takes you about 3.5 miles down the coast, hugging the coastline. You will go round The Island, past Porthmeor Beach, round Clodgy Point and down the coast. Seal Island is a rocky outcrop before you get to Zennor and is the home of a colony of Atlantic Grey Seals. The boats can get quite close to the rocks where you can see the seals sunbathing. The captains usually linger here for about 15 minutes, before making the return journey back up the coast.

2. Godrevy Lighthouse

This journey takes you right across St Ives Bay and over to the Godrevy Lighthouse, which stands at the Northern end of the bay. Godrevy Lighthouse marks the Stones reef and was made famous by the Virginia Woolf novel "To The Lighthouse" (she could see it from her house on Talland Road in St Ives). The journey takes you past Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay and the stretch of 3 miles of golden sand of the Hayle Beaches. Near Godrevy lighthouse is Mutton Cove, which is another colony of Atlantic Grey Seals. Depending on the sea conditions, you will get to see the lighthouse towering close above you, which is really impressive!

3. St Ives Beaches & Coves

This journey takes you up the coast, past Porthminster Beach and Carbis Bay, out towards Porthkidney Sands and Hayle Estuary. It then comes back and heads to The Island, before returning past Porthgwidden Beach, Smeaton's Pier, and back into the harbour. The focus of this trip is all about fascinating facts about St Ives, the local wildlife and the sea.

Porthkidney Sands and Hayle Estuary Seen From A Boat Trip St Ives Cornwall

Wildlife In The Area

As well as having big colonies of seals, there are frequently visits from dolphins (both common and bottlenose), less occasional Risso dolphin (the big ones), sunfish, and if you are incredibly lucky, whales (minke usually) and basking shark. There is also an incredible array of seabirds so take your binoculars! You can often see magnificent cormorants drying their wings. During the warmer months St Ives Bay is also home to lots of jellyfish - beautiful to look at, not so much fun to swim with!

Some of the boats also offer fishing trips and private charters.

Rough Seas

Please do be aware that the running of the trips is weather and sea dependent. If conditions are too rough or the weather too harsh, the trips will be cancelled. Also, do be aware that despite their best efforts, the boat trip operators cannot guarantee sightings of wildlife. You will have a high probability of seeing something, especially the seals which are there all year round, but dophins, whales and sharks are more tricky to predict!

The Boat Trip Operators Which Run From St Ives

Most of the boats can be booked at the harbour from around the slipways. You can also book online or call them.

1. Wavedancer

Wavedancer Boat Trip St Ives Cornwall

Wavedancer boat is run by John and Mel. They offer 1 hour cruising around St Ives Bay. The boat is licensed to carry up to 8 passengers per trip. It’s an hours gentle cruise around the beaches and coves. John, the skipper, talks of the history the town has to offer, the smuggling and the shipwrecks. He’s a born and bred St ives man, so knows quite a bit of St ives! He’s also served with the RNLI here for over 30 years, now as head launcher. The boat heads up to Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay and Porthkidney Beach. Seeing the coastline from the sea is stunning as you can see all the caves and the colours are beautiful. It then heads over to the island and the NCI lookout and hopefully see a seal or two or even a pod of dolphins. On the way back into the harbour you can see Porthgwidden Beach and Bamaluz where the smugglers used to hide.

They are WiSe accredited so it does keep its distance from the wildlife so not to disturb or frighten them. We charge £20 per adult and £15 for children under 12. Well behaved dogs are more than welcome.

  • well behaved dogs are welcome
  • family friends
  • lasts about an hour
  • adults cost £20 and children under 12 cost £15

Contact: 07967 902916

Click here to read all about my boat trip on Wavedancer St Ives >>

2. Dolly P - St Ives Boats

Dolly P is the lovely boat blue boat in the harbour. It runs trips to Seal Island and Godrevy Lighthouse.

  • dog friendly
  • lasts about an hour
  • suitable for all ages
  • aduilts £25, under 12s £15, dogs and under ones go free

Contact: 07773 008000

3. James Stevens No 10 - St Ives Lifeboat

James Stevens St Ives Lifeboat Boat Trip Cornwall


Built in 1899 James Stevens No.10 served as the St Ives Lifeboat from 1900 to 1933 saving 225 lives in those years. Now lovingly and carefully restored our historical boat trip offers a chance to explore the bay and Godrevy Lighthouse on a truly iconic vessel.

  • dog friendly
  • lasts about 1.5 hours
  • suitable for all ages
  • aduilts £25, under 12s £15, dogs and under ones go free

Contact: 07773 008000

4. Nemo Glass Bottom Boat Trips

Nemo Glass Bottomed Boat Trip St Ives Cornwall

Nemo is one of the largest glass bottomed boats in the UK. It has eight glass viewing panels which lets you get amazing views of the wildlife from both above and below the sea. They run trips to both Seal Island and Godrevy Lighthouse.

  • dog friendly
  • lasts about 1 and a quarter hours
  • suitable for all ages
  • adults £30, children £20, dogs and under ones go free

Contact: 0737 5758 123

5. The Black Pearl St Ives - Boat Trips St Ives

The Black Pearl offers trips to either Seal Island, Godrevy Lighthouse, or Mackerel Fishing.

  • dog friendly
  • Seal Island and Godrevy trips last about 1 and a quarter hours
  • Mackerel Fishing trips last about 1 and a half hours
  • Seal Island and Godrevy trips tickets cost £20 per person - under ones go free
  • Mackerel Fishing costs £30 per person

Contact: 07869793453

6. Tiger Lilly - St Ives Boat Cruises

Tiger Lilly is the beautiful 33ft blue boat which takes passengers to either Seal Island or Godrevy Lighthouse. They are family and dog friendly and are one of the longest running boat trips run by a local family.

  • dog friendly
  • the trips last approx 1 hour
  • adults £25, children £15 and under ones go free
  • mackerel fishing trips are also available

Contact: 07888213131

7. Seahorse Boat Trips

The Seahorse runs trips to either Seal Island or Godrevy Lighthouse. It is the oldest running boat trip in St Ives, offering pleasure cruises from the harbour for nearly 40 years!

  • dog friendly
  • the trips last approximately 1 hour
  • adults £25, under 12s £15 and under ones go free

Contact: 07745 994448 (ask for Mel)

8. The Little Mermaid - St Ives Sea Trips

Little Mermaid Boat Trip St Ives Cornwall

The Little Mermaids runs fun , family friendly trips to Seal Island and Godrevy Lighthouse.

  • dog friendly - on a leash please
  • the trips last about an hour
  • adults £25, children 12s £15 and under ones go free

Contact: 07770 040303

9 Four Sisters Boat Trip

Four Sisters Boat Trip St Ives Cornwall

The Four Sisters is the biggest passenger boat in St Ives. They have been running trips to Seal Island and Godrevy Lighthouse since 2007.

  • dog friendly
  • kids go free (please check the website for conditions)
  • 1.5 hour long trip - £20
  • 2 hour long trip - £25
  • Trips are suitable for all children over the age of 2
  • private charters are also available

Contact: 07582 033757

Read 101 Brilliant Things To Do In St Ives Cornwall >>

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